The 7 Best Back Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles

Our 7 best back exercises to incorporate in back workouts to strengthen your back and build muscles. Not seeing results when exercising? Add these best back exercises for women and men to your workout!

If there is one specific body part that everyone must target during workout sessions, it is the back. While it seems tempting to work the mirror muscles like the biceps, abs, and chest, a strong back is the key to progress when weightlifting. Stronger back muscles decrease the occurrence of vertebral fractures (1) and backaches. A strong back makes sure that our body functions smoothly during exercises and daily routine.

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But with a plethora of best back exercises for women and men, it is understandable to get a bit overwhelmed, especially if you are new to this. We have taken out the guesswork for you and compiled a list of 7 best back exercises for you. These exercises will dramatically improve your back and help you enhance your physique:

Exercise 1. Chest Supported Row

If you have an annoying achy lower back, which hinders you from carrying out daily activities, then this exercise is for you. A chest supported row is unarguably one of the best exercises for lower back pain. It isolates the back muscles, so you can activate them to the maximum limit.

Chest Supported Row Muscles Worked: Chest-supported dumbbell row targets the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, biceps, and teres major and minor. Plus, not standing takes the onus off the lower back in order to support the torso, as a result, relieving low-back pressure.

Exercise 2. Seated Row

If you’re searching for ways to enhance upper body strength, look no further than the seated row. A seated row is a strength training exercise that works the biceps and upper back which places it among the best upper back exercises. Though it’s performed by pulling a weighted handle on a seated row machine, you can use a resistance band or a seated cable row machine.

Seated Row Muscles Worked: It tones and strengthens the upper body and works various muscles in the arms and back. The targeted muscles include biceps brachii, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and rhomboids.

Exercise 3. Reverse Fly

The reverse fly strengthens the posture muscles, which play an extremely important role in your everyday health. Apart from targeting your major muscle groups, the reverse fly also helps with back fat problems. It is considered one of the best exercises for back fat, so if you want to reduce back fat and strengthen your back, then this exercise is for you.

Reverse Fly Muscles Worked: The reverse fly is a type of resistance exercise that works the deltoids (rear shoulders) and major muscle groups of the upper back, including the trapezius, as well.

Exercise 4. Bent-Over Barbell Row

The bent-over barbell row is the best back movement in terms of sheer weight a person can lift. It equally works the larger muscle groups of the lower and upper back, making this exercise a great overall back builder. Keep your shoulder blades back when doing this exercise to avoid slouching to prevent stress on the lower back.

Bent-Over Barbell Row Muscles Worked: One of the best exercises to strengthen lower back, bent over barbell row uses the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius. It also works the legs, back, and glutes to stabilise the body.

Exercise 5. Plank

Commonly perceived as a core movement, the plank is actually a full-body exercise. Planks are the best back exercises at home because all you need is an exercise mat for the exercise. If you are a newbie, you need to hold a plank for just one minute. This exercise recruits your deep back muscles, called erector spinae, to let you hold your position effectively. Doing the plank also increases abdominal muscle thickness (2) with time.

Plank Muscles Worked: The plank not only works your rectus abdominis, but it also works other ab and core muscles that run down the pelvis along your spine and up to your shoulder girdle.

More Exercises to Do at Home: 30 Minute Cardio Workout at Home – No Equipment Required

Exercise 6. Pull Up

It’s always a good idea to incorporate an overhead pulling exercise in a back workout regimen, and the pull up is one of the best compound back exercises for that matter. Pull up is a classic bodyweight exercise for a wider back. This upper body strength training exercise is tougher than a chin-up, but it can be performed on an assisted machine for beginners.

Pull Up Muscles Worked: Pull-ups work several muscles of the body including the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, pectoralis major, deltoids, biceps, teres major, infraspinatus, and teres minor.

Exercise 7. Bridge

If you feel like you spend a considerable amount of time sitting, the bridge, also known as glute bridge or hip raises, can help you keep your lower body active. Bridges are the easiest and best bodyweight back exercises anyone can do. They work the gluteus maximus, which is one of the most important muscles in the body. Keeping it strong can support your lower back.

Bridge Muscles Worked: Bridge targets the hamstrings, abs, and glutes. It can act as an effective warm-up exercise and a rehab exercise to boost spinal and core stabilisation.

Final Takeaway

Strengthening your back offers a lot of benefits. The most important one is lending you a helping hand to live everyday life in an easier way. These best back exercises

will provide you with everything you need to get stronger and, as a result, function better.

Keep in mind, as you progress, in these back strengthening exercises, that you need to challenge yourself, to do better. You can achieve that by adding resistance or weight but proceed with caution. If you have a history of back pain or other issues, consult a physical therapist or your physician before proceeding because research (3) tells individuals with low back pain to refrain from doing specific back exercises.

Related: 15 Best Compound Lifts and Exercises to Gain Muscle Mass


(1) Sinaki, M., Itoi, E., Wahner, H. W., Wollan, P., Gelzcer, R., Mullan, B. P., … & Hodgson, S. F. (2002). Stronger back muscles reduce the incidence of vertebral fractures: a prospective 10 year follow-up of postmenopausal women. Bone, 30(6), 836-841.

(2) Bae, W., Ok, J., Lim, D., Shin, S., & Lee, K. (2018). Comparison of the effects of plank and Kegel exercises on core muscle thickness. Journal of The Korean Society of Integrative Medicine, 6(1), 91-98.

(3) Hurwitz, E. L., Morgenstern, H., & Chiao, C. (2005). Effects of recreational physical activity and back exercises on low back pain and psychological distress: findings from the UCLA Low Back Pain Study. American Journal of Public Health, 95(10), 1817-1824.